In an effort to avoid the expense of buying a new vehicle, I once bought an older van and replaced the engine. In my mind, this would be the next best thing to having a new van. My plan was working like a charm until the transmission starting slipping. Shortly after I replaced my transmission, the drive shaft literally fell off while I was driving down the highway. The problems cascaded into a series of minor and not so minor issues until I finally couldn’t afford my van anymore. I sold it for a fraction of what I had put into it just to stop the bleeding. Sometimes things don’t turn out according to our plans. That’s because, being human, our best intentions are often flawed.
We must be careful, however, not to superimpose this same limitation on God. Unlike us, God’s intentions are always perfect. So perfect that God Himself can’t even improve upon them. This is a very powerful principle. To observe just how powerful, take note of everything God has ever intended to do and you’ll discover a very significant pattern. When God intends to do something, one way or another, it always happens.
Take the subject matter at hand as an example. To discover what Heaven will be like, all we really have to do is take note of God’s original intentions. After God created the universe and everything in it, the Bible says, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). That means everything was exactly how God intended it to be. Man was granted dominion over a perfect world. There was no death, no sickness, no sin and no struggle—just as God intended.
So, what would have happened had Adam and Eve never eaten the forbidding fruit? Presumably, mankind would have lived forever in an earthly paradise. Fruit and vegetable bearing plants would have thrived instead of weeds. Man would have leisurely enjoyed exercising dominion over God’s creation. The animal kingdom would have lived in submission to man as its caretaker, enjoying peace and harmony within itself. But sadly, man sinned, and paradise was lost forever. Or was it?
To you and me, intentions are just intentions. We set out with the best of them, but when things don’t work out, we simply change our plans (our intentions) and move on. Not so with God. God’s intentions are perfect, which means they can’t be improved upon, and thus they never have to be changed.
So, taking that logic into account, if Earth was intended to by our Heaven—if that was God’s original intent—shouldn’t we expect that Earth will end up being our Heaven? Exactly! The Bible begins with God creating Earth to be man’s eternal abode and the Bible ends with God returning to His original plan by creating a New Earth to be man’s eternal abode. The Bible ends where it began, with God coming back to His original plan!
The fall of man didn’t negate God’s original intentions; it just delayed them for a while. Right now, you and I live in a pause period, a period of redemption where God seeks to save those who are lost due to the fall of man. When redemptive history is complete, the moment the last of mankind has been resurrected and judged (Revelation 20:11-15), God will go back to His original plan! In fact, it’s in the very next verse that the Apostle John wrote, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared” (Revelation 21:1).
The Apostle Peter put it this way, “But we are looking forward to the new heavens and the new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13).
Several hundred years earlier, the great prophet Isaiah recorded God making this same promise: "See, I will create new heavens and a new earth …” (Isaiah 65:17). Despite the fall of man, God’s original plan will be fulfilled!
None of this should be a surprise to us. Jesus, in the most famous sermon ever delivered, The Sermon on the Mount, promised, “The meek … shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). Notice, according to Jesus, our eternal inheritance won’t be a harp and a cloud; it won’t be an ethereal abode. It will be Earth itself!
So, regardless of what you’ve heard about Heaven, God’s clear promise to you is that one day the “New Earth” will be your Heaven!!